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Chapter 273: Preliminary Selection

    Chapter 273: Preliminary Selection

    Translator: Novel Saga  Editor: Novel Saga

    "Relax, I'm with you. I'll have enough time to take you away from here even if you get caught by these people..." Shi Mu's voice continued to resound in his ears.

    Hou Sai Lei's fluttering heart calmed down when he heard these words of reassurance.

    Then, he secretly took a deep breath, and swept away those disturbing thoughts from his head.

    "Mr Special Envoy...?" The short and stout man's brows wrinkled slightly.

    "Well, you send someone to inquire about Deacon Quan's whereabouts. Today is a very special day since the preliminary selection matches are going to start. So, we have to give more importance to this matter than any other thing. This matter must be resolved quickly," Hou Sai Lei stated in a cold manner.

    "Yes," the short and stout Deacon's complexion dignified along with those of the other Deacons. And, they complied with orders.

    Hou Sai Lei didn't stop to look at them. Instead, he stepped toward a high platform near the arena.

    The bustling crowd around him quieted down, and the people turned their eyes toward Hou Sai Lei in quick succession.

    "Ladies and gentlemen of the Dark Moon Cult, this humble servant has been assigned by the Cult's Right Wing Minister to come here, and gather the disciples who wish to explore the Western continent. I'm relieved to see how enthusiastic you people are to get your name registered," Hou Sai Lei stood on the platform and spoke-up in a loud voice.

    Many people's faces revealed a trace of excitement as soon as this statement was made.

    "Well, I will explain the rules for this selection first!"

    Hou Sai Lei paused for a moment. Then, he continued, "Only the Cult's disciples are eligible to participate in this selection. So, everyone will need to go through the identity verification when you come to me to register your name. After that, the winners will be selected based on the outcome of the one-on-one matches that will be conducted here. And, those winners can follow me to the Dark Moon Cult's headquarters for the next round of selections."

    Hou Sai Lei's voice had barely faded when it sparked a burst of discussion under the stage.

    However, Hou Sai Lei walked to the table in the center of the platform, and sat down.

    Then, a Dark Moon Cult disciple who appeared to be a very young man jumped onto the high platform. He looked twenty years old... more or less. Then, he took out his Dark Moon Order, and handed it over to Hou Sai Lei.

    The short and stout Deacon and a few other people urged the disciples of various sub-altars' Deacons to maintain order near the platform.

    Hou Sai Lei received the Dark Moon Order, but he didn't pour a glance at the man's action. A blood-red light flickered twice on the token, and a few lines of text along with an image appeared after that.

    Then, Hou Sai Lei glanced at this young disciple of the Dark Moon Cult, and gave him a nod. After that, he returned the token to the young man. He then took out the black jade board, and his hand moved on the board a few times. A few small words appeared on the jade board as a result.

    "Next," Hou Sai Lei waved his hand to indicate this young disciple to get down from the platform.

    Another disciple of the Dark Moon Cult walked onto the platform.

    A long queue of the Dark Moon Cult's disciples got formed under the arena. Shi Mu also blended into the queue. He nodded inwardly when he saw Hou Sai Lei's calm appearance.

    Dozens of people's names had been registered in a while. And, Shi Mu's turn had finally arrived.

    Shi Mu took a step, and walked onto the high platform. Then, he took out the Dark Moon Order from his body, and handed it over to Hou Sai Lei.

    Hou Sai Lei cast a glance at Shi Mu. Meanwhile, the token in his hand emitted a blood-red light.

    The Dark Moon Order was in his palm. But, the other Deacons beside him neither threw a glance at it... nor did they seem to care about it.

    Hou Sai Lei glanced at it, and nodded. Then, he returned the token to him. Simultaneously, he recorded Shi Mu's name on the jade board. But, the name he mentioned was a pseudonym.

    Shi Mu turned around, and walked down the high platform. He felt very relieved deep in his heart.

    He knew that the next step would be easier after he had passed this step.

    The registration of the talented disciples had been completed in two hours. There were altogether one-thousand applicants in the list.

    Hou Sai Lei and the other Deacons spent a little time to arrange a lottery for the participants in the following time. Afterwards, a huge notice was compiled, and hung near the stage.

    The notice contained an orderly battle-chart of 221 groups.

    The Dark Moon Cult's disciples in the vicinity forced their way through the crowd, and rushed to see battle-charts.

    "Everyone, the battle-chart has been prepared. The matches will start right now since there is a very limited time on our hands before the sea trip. The people whose names will be read will mount the stage to begin the match," Hou Sai Lei spoke-up. Simultaneously, he shot a glance at the short and stout Deacon beside him.

    The latter understood the meaning, and moved a step forward.

    "On the first ring - Gan Zhe vs Huo Tu Hai. On the second ring..." the short and stout Deacon announced the list. And, the people whose names had been read immediately climbed onto their respective rings in the public square to start the match.

    There was a Deacon on each of the ten rings to perform the role of a referee. The Dark Moon Cult's disciples stood on both sides. They were familiar with the basics. So, the matches started very quickly.

    Shi Mu heard his pseudonym after half-an-hour. So, he then walked onto a ring.

    A person's silhouette flashed on his opposite side, and a blonde disciple of the Dark Moon Cult jumped onto the ring. He looked very skillful.

    He used his spirit sense to size up Shi Mu, and his eyes revealed a hint of a contemptuous look. He was exhilarated inwardly for being lucky today.

    The fact was that Shi Mu had already restrained the aura around his body. In addition, his body was exuding very weak magic power waves at the moment. These things had made it seem as if he had only entered the primary stage of Spirit-rank.

    The golden-haired young man was an advanced-stage Spirit-ranked magician. So, Shi Mu obviously wasn't a worthy opponent in his eyes.

    "The match begins!"

    There was a grey-robed middle-aged man on the stage. He announced this, and retreated to one side.

    His voice had barely faded when the golden-haired man shouted in a low voice. Then, he wielded his black magic wand in a gentle manner.

    "Puff Puff" two loud and crisp sounds were heard. Then, a mass of black fog emerged before his body. After that, two tall human skeletons walked out of the black fog. The entire bodies of these skeletons were jet-black. They grasped a saw-tooth bone-blade in their hands.

    "They are the black-bone skeletons!"

    "The joint strength of these two black skeletons can be placed on par with a Xian-Tian-ranked warrior. It seems that the young man on the opposite side is sure to lose this match," the people in the vicinity of the ring had started to discuss in an excited manner.

    The golden-haired man listened to the discussion of the audience, and his heart brimmed with a complacent feeling.

    The fact was that he hadn't given much thought while summoning these two black-bone skeletons. But, he suddenly felt that they were worthy to rely on.

    The golden-haired man waved his wand, and the two black-bone skeletons brandished their bone-blades. Then, they rushed toward Shi Mu at the same time.

    However, Shi Mu acted as if he didn't care about those skeletons that had stormed toward him. He simply closed his eyes and mumbled something.

    A red light flashed behind him. Then, six red dots appeared in front of his body. After that, each red dot turned into a washbasin-sized fireball with a flash of red light. They flared up, and exuded a weak fluctuation of magic power.

    "Go!"

    Shi Mu waved his arm, and the six fireballs darted toward the two skeletons... like meteors! They issued shrill ear-piercing sound as they advanced.

    The golden-haired man became startled as he saw this. He was astounded to see that Shi Mu's fire-attribute element-induction force had reached to such a degree.

    The ability to release a person's head-sized fireball technique was considered good for an ordinary spirit-ranked magician. And, to have reached this size clearly indicated that either the caster had reached more than five degrees in the fire-attribute induction force... or he had entered the Star-ranked magician realm.

    However, that golden-haired man didn't reveal the slightest trace of fear. Instead, he waved his wand, and the two skeletons stopped from swooping toward Shi Mu. Then, their bone-blades started to radiate splendid grey luminescence, and they dashed toward the approaching fireballs head-on in order to crush them.

    Shi Mu's eyes narrowed and his pupils got smeared with a layer of fluorescence.

    Then, the void in front of his body flashed, and six invisible and slender shadows flashed faintly.

    Boom!

    The six fireballs looked like a cluster of startled honeybees as they shot and dispersed in all directions.

    The two bone-blades couldn't even hack a single fireball.

    The six fireballs flashed as they bypassed the two skeletons with a shrill sound. Then, they converged behind them, and turned into a large current of flames that was ten-feet in size. Then, that current of flames rushed forth toward the golden-haired man, and quickly arrived in front of his body.

    The golden-haired man's complexion changed terribly as he screamed loudly out of fear. The wand in his hand had also transformed into a huge bone-shield, and had blocked his body.

    A loud sound of explosion rang out!

    The bone-shield could withstand the current for a couple of seconds only. Then, it blew up and dispersed!

    The golden-haired man's face revealed a hint of shock as he saw this.

    His body was about to be swallowed-up by the monstrous fire waves when a silhouette appeared before his body to block the strike; this silhouette was the referee of this ring.

    A grey light gushed out from the referee's hand, and condensed into a light-screen.

    Bang!

    The grey light-curtain flashed in a violent manner as the flood of flames knocked against it. Then, the radiance of the light-screen dimmed at a very high speed.

    The current of flames had also weakened very significantly by now. However, the grey light-screen was on the verge of collapse. But, that current of flames suddenly turned into sparks with a loud sound and drifted away with the wind.

    The middle-aged referee exhaled a long breath. His complexion had also turned somewhat pale. Only a thin layer of that grey light-curtain had remained before his body.

    Those fireballs could've shattered the light-screen if they had been a bit more powerful.

    Shi Mu's brows twitched into a frown as he put down his arm.

    The referee waved his hand, and the grey light-screen dissipated. He gazed at Shi Mu in a profound manner. Then, he announced Shi Mu's victory.

    The golden-haired man's complexion looked deathly pale at this moment. He wielded his wand, and the two black skeletons that were still standing blankly on the platform returned to the Dead Spirit World. Then, he turned around and jumped down the ring.

    Shi Mu also walked down the ring in a slow manner. There was a hint of satisfaction glowing across his face.

    He had been practicing Transcending Heaven Imperial Determination in a diligent manner over the past few days. Therefore, he had become even more proficient in controlling the magic spirit chain. In addition, he could now control up to six fireballs at a time.

    He tested the small dagger on the ring, and the outcome was truly amazing.

    The crowds near the ring gazed at Shi Mu once again. But, their gazes looked substantially different this time. Some people were even trying to guess about Shi Mu's identity and other details now...

    However, many disciples of the Dark Moon Cult had assembled in the Pi City from various nearby regions at this time. And, many of them had joined the Cult only recently. So, to find information about a certain person in this huge crowd was easier said than done.

    Shi Mu came to the high stage where Hou Sai Lei stood, and reported to him about his victory.

    "Good to hear that you have passed the preliminary test. You have to gather here at noon after three days. Then, we will head to Quyang City together," Hou Sai Lei said.

    "Yes," Shi Mu complied. Then, he turned around and walked away.

    The preliminary selection for the sea trip came to an end after three consecutive days of matches.

    On the fourth day... more than five-hundred people had gathered in Pi City's square at noontime. All of them had won their preliminary matches. So, they were waiting in a silent manner.

    Everyone on the scene was excited and in high spirit. They were talking about matters related to the Dark Moon Cult's expedition to the Western continent.

    The Dark Moon Cult's strength had been declining with each passing day owing to the war that had taken place hundred years ago. The practicing methods of this Cult's disciples weren't smooth. Therefore, many had begun to feel stifled.

    However, there was now an opportunity to go to a new territory that was rumored to be piled up with an abundance of spiritual energy. In addition, it was also a dwelling place of all kinds of demon-beasts. So, the disciples that had been selected in the preliminary selection competition were very eager to seize this opportunity to change their destiny.

    Shi Mu stood in the corner and looked at the crowd beside him.

    These people's cultivation didn't seem to be low. There were a large number of magicians among them, and more than 70% of them seemed to be Spirit-ranked magicians.

    Shi Mu was flabbergasted since this kind of a situation was unlikely to be seen in any other place.
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